The path of life is the pilgrim’s journey of faith. Some days the path is well known. Some days the path is unforeseen. We presently trod an unanticipated path, one without expectation, yet with hope. Here we are, together on the same path. Strange how all paths have converged onto this road. Bishop Michael G. Duca compares this time to the first Holy Saturday and those lived since: quiet, still, prayer-filled, oneness, unknowing what is to come. And guided by faith, we shall confidently continue to walk this path as one people, one church, one family of God. The psalmist writes, “Lord, you will show us the path of life.” Yes, indeed, the Lord will show and has shown us the path of life. The Third and Fourth Sundays of Easter Mass readings illumine the “path of life.” As faithful Christians we walk in the footsteps of our Lord’s resurrection with faith, hope and trust.  

A path of faith  

The first readings during the Easter Season are taken from the Acts of the Apostles. St. Peter gives commanding speeches, early sermons per se, of the good news. Jesus was incarnate, showing us the face of God the father, and called us to follow his path of life. We are simply called to repent, to receive forgiveness, to be baptized and to receive the Holy Spirit to be empowered to live a life of faith in Jesus Christ.  

Life_Giving Faith.pdf

Hence we are Christians, disciples who witness the saving power of faith, who walk the path of the resurrected Christ. When have I experienced another who showed mercy, who fed and gave drink; or who sheltered another, visited or called on the sick? And those who administered medicine or action for healing … what about them? What about those who have sadly buried a family member or friend, or who gave alms through donations to support those on the frontlines, creating masks, gowns, all the PPEs? Who has continued to support their home church, provided meals, money, time and treasure? Prayer? Who has counseled the doubtful or instructed those who desired to know more about God? How has someone helped another walk more closely to God and avoid the narrow path? Whom have I comforted by listening and giving hope? How have I let go of divisions and become more unified? How much more am I praying for those alive and those who have entered eternity? If you have done any of these corporal and spiritual works of mercy, then you are a witness of the saving power of faith in God: the path of life … the path of a Christian.  

A path of hope 

We can always use healthy doses of hope. Is our path laden with hope? The third Sunday of Easter’s Gospel is huge. We can find many meditative moments on the road to Emmaus. I suggest you sit with this passage, Luke 24:13-35, in meditation and prayer. The road to Emmaus for the two disciples begins with downcast hearts and minds. After being faithful followers of Jesus, the events over the past three days were unforeseen. (Sound familiar?) The anticipated path with Jesus has been replaced with a sense of loss and confusion. (Ditto that.) Where can they turn? What is happening?  

Then another man, whom they did not “recognize since their eyes prevented such,” journeys alongside, listening. He asks, “What are you talking about?” They proceed to tell the “unrecognizable Jesus” the fate of their Lord. In the flick of a light, Jesus begins to share the story of hope in the promise of salvation from God through his promise to Moses and the one prophesied: the Messiah. The greatest story of hope: the saving power of God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 and fulfilled in Jesus. The two disciples wanted to hear more, for their hearts were burning with hope and new life. Upon being seated for dinner, as soon as Jesus repeated what he did at the Last Supper, took, blessed, broke and gave the bread to them, they recognized Jesus, in his resurrected body! He vanished. Hope restored, they RAN back to the upper room to tell the others, who had also witnessed the resurrected Christ. Where is my hope today? Are my eyes preventing me from seeing the hope? What hope have I shared with another? Who has given me hope?  

A path of trust  

The Gospel of the Fourth Sunday in Easter is taken from St. John’s writings. Jesus describes himself as “the gate.” As little sheep trust the path of their shepherd, we are called to trust in the care of Jesus, our Good Shepherd. His is the path of salvation, for those who pass his gate and trust in his care are safe from that which will steal from the flock. He said, “Whoever enters through me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture … I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:9-10). Our faith builds our hope which secures our trust to enter Jesus’ life. We enter and exit freely to green pastures and are under his keen watch and protection. We shall not fear. We trust an unknown future to an all-knowing God; a God who gives life more abundantly, more than we can possibly imagine. Am I afraid? Have I placed my fears into the hands of Jesus? As St. Peter writes, “For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls” (1 Pt 2:25).  

Lord Jesus, by the grace of God and power of the Holy Spirit, we place our faith, hope and trust in You, the guardian of our soul, our path of life. Amen.  

Dow is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.